The Cairn’s unique qualities, called “Cairnishness,” include a short, wide head and a free-moving, short-legged body that exudes strength but not heaviness, topping out at about 10 inches high and about 15 inches long. The double coat is harsh and wiry on top and downy beneath. A Cairn presents as a small, shaggy, alert dog, with head, tail, and ears up, and eyes shining with intelligence.
A British breed club promotes Cairns as the “best little pal in the world.” Cairns are small enough for a lap-top snuggle and sturdy enough for a good romp on the lawn. They do best with lots of close family contact. For owners who cherish the terrier qualities of gameness, independent thinking, and true-blue loyalty, no other breed will do.